Shop around for credit cards with low interest rates and low or no annual fee. Look closely at credit card offers that use the word “free.” Usually, everything has a price. Avoid loans and credit cards with high interest rates. Don’t take on monthly loan payments you can’t afford.
Don’t use your credit card to buy things you really can’t afford. Let your budget be your guide. Resist impulse buying!
Don’t go wild! Don’t exceed your credit card spending limit and try to keep your balance 70% or less of your limit. Avoid having monthly credit card payments that exceed 10% of your monthly net income. Don’t let the total amount you charge to your credit cards exceed 20% of your yearly net income. Maintaining a number of credit accounts over a long period of time can actually improve your credit score -- but only if you limit your credit use.
Track your credit card charges throughout the month. Save your receipts and check them against your statement. If you have Internet access to your credit card balance, track the charges made on your credit card online, before you even receive the bill in the mail.
Pay on time and pay off credit card balances monthly if you can. If you can’t pay off your credit card balance in full, pay more to your high-interest accounts every month while paying at least the minimum to lower-interest accounts. At the very least, pay the minimum payment to every account, every month, on time.
If you can’t pay the minimum due on your credit card, call your creditor and ask for an extension or to set up a payment plan. Try to have you APR lowered, too, which may reduce your payment. If nothing can be done, look for money in your overall spending plan that you can put toward your payment.
If you’re getting into trouble with debt, get help early. Contact your lender. Try to work out a repayment plan that works for both of you. You may also want to consider talking with a credit counselor, an experienced professional, who can help you get out of debt.